Figuring out how to lose weight often comes with the realisation that it won’t happen as fast as you want it to. Even if you hit gym religiously and keep a strict check on your diet, you will have to be patient to see the results you want. But if you want to shed those kilos fast, there is a way for you to do it. Unlike other good things in life, getting fit doesn’t have to take time. In fact, there are some simple but effective changes that you can make to your diet and workout today to see the changes you want in a little over a week. You’ll be surprised at how small alterations to your lifestyle will help to kick-start your weight loss journey. Think about it: You can achieve the weight loss resolution you made this New Year before 2018 even ends. Here’s how to lose weight with 10 healthy habits which, if you commit to following, will help you to achieve real results in as little as 10 days.
1. How to lose weight fast by counting your calories
There is no other way around it. The simple answer to how to lose weight is that you need to expend more calories through activity than you consume from food and drink. So many people struggle to lose weight because they’re simply eating too many calories. Shifting your energy balance towards burning fat and losing weight requires you to be in what’s called a ‘calorie deficit’.
The easiest way how to lose weight by cutting calories is to find out what your ‘maintenance’ level is and then reduce your daily calorie intake by between 10-20%. Then it’s a matter of tracking what you’re eating to make sure you’re consistently in a calorie deficit. The size of the calorie deficit will determine how quickly you lose weight. However, if you’re overly aggressive and try to ‘crash diet’, then you risk losing more muscle than fat.
2. Eat protein at every meal to feel fuller
We ask all our clients at Ultimate Performance to eat a good source of protein at every meal. There are several reasons why, but the main one is that protein is responsible for the repair and growth of muscle tissue. That’s not all, though. Protein is also incredibly satiating, meaning that it will help to keep you feeling fuller for longer and you are less likely to snack on calorie-laden junk food between meals.
Protein also has a significantly higher thermic effect than carbohydrate and fat, which is a technical way of saying that your body burns more calories digesting and processing it for use elsewhere in the body. A simple rule for men to follow is to aim for four protein based meals per day, with roughly 30-40g of protein per serving.
3. Prep your own food for better results
If you’re already tracking your calories and your macronutrients, one way to pretty much guarantee success is by preparing all your meals in advance. We advise every body transformation client at Ultimate Performance to have their nutrition game plan in place at least 12 hours ahead. You really want to avoid a situation where you wake up and don’t know what you will be eating that day. Remember, it’s much harder to lose sight of your weight loss goals and eat something you shouldn’t if you have all your healthy and on-plan meals ready for the day and by your side.
Here are some tips to help you master food prep:
- Buy foods in bulk and portion them out: It’s far more cost-effective to buy food in bulk, whether it is protein sources, vegetables or bags of nuts. What portioning them out means is that they’re already segregated and ready to go when you need to prepare them.
- Batch cook recipes: Making a huge batch of food in one go means you can freeze or store the extra portions to eat at a later date, saving you lots of time in the long run. This is particularly useful for those who want to lose weight but have hectic schedules.
4. How to lose weight by reducing carb intake initially
We’re not trying to demonise carbs – they have a time and a place in every body transformation plan. But if you have weight to lose and your body is inflamed, a period of low carb eating can be a real benefit in kick-starting your weight loss efforts.
Many people think they need carbs at every meal. But unlike protein and fat, which are essential to your survival, your body can function quite happily without them. So your diet plan to help you how to lose weight doesn’t need too many carbs. A great place to start is to cut highly-processed carbs out of your diet and swap them for green vegetables like broccoli, spinach and kale. They are full of vitamins and minerals, high in dietary fibre and low on calories. This means that you can eat lots of them to help keep hunger at bay.
Remember, the leaner you are, the more carbs you can handle. When you do reintroduce carbs back into your diet, add a small amount in your post-workout meal or have them with your final meal of the day (carbs stimulate production of a hormone called serotonin, which aids sleep).
5. Get fitter by eating healthy fats
Fats have a bad reputation. The world seems to think fat makes you fat whereas it’s actually eating too many calories makes you fat; because fats contain more calories, they’re easier to overeat. If you want to succeed in your quest of how to lose weight and live a lean and healthy lifestyle, you need good fats in your diet.
This is especially important if you’re reducing your carb intake, as fat is your body’s alternative energy source. However, the benefits of fats extend far beyond that. Fat adds texture and flavour to your diet apart from supporting critical biological functions like storing vitamins and manufacturing hormones. We advise our clients at Ultimate Performance to avoid trans fats which are ‘man made’ and associated with a number of health complications. Instead, you should base your diet around getting a balance of the different types of fats:
- Saturated fat: Eggs, butter ghee, coconut oil and animal fats
- Monounsaturated fat: Olive oil, avocados and nuts
- Poly-unsaturated fat: Fish oil and flax seeds.
Remember, always monitor your intake, especially where fats are concerned – healthy fats are essential, but they’re also laden with calories.
6. Increase your activity levels for quicker weight loss
Want to know how to lose weight fast? Increase your activity levels. And we’re not just talking about the 60 minutes you spend in the gym. You need to move more and increase your activity levels throughout the day.
Most people think they will lose weight by doing an hour-long session in the gym, but if they’re sedentary for the other 23 hours in the day, their calorie expenditure will be relatively low. How active you are can play a huge part in whether you lose weight or not. One of the greatest ways how to lose weight – one that hardly anyone is aware of – is ‘non-exercise activity thermogenesis’ (NEAT). This is the energy you expend doing day-to-day activities like shopping, cleaning, walking, and even fidgeting.
Depending how much you move, this can make up anywhere between 15-50 per cent of your total energy expenditure and can be the crucial difference between calorie maintenance and calorie deficit. Every client at Ultimate Performance is advised to build activity into their day and aim for 10,000 steps per day. Walk to work, carry the shopping home, take their stairs; do anything that gets you moving more and increases the daily calorie burn from NEAT.
7. Resistance training is essential for weight loss
Training with weights is one of the best ways how to lose weight, shed unwanted fat and improve your body composition.
Hitting big compound movements like the squats, deadlifts and pull-ups ahead of isolation exercises like bicep curls and leg extensions is the best bang-for-your-buck way to recruit the most muscle mass and burn more calories. If you are trying to lose fat, you need to lift hard and heavy. Doing 100 reps with a 2kg dumbbell won’t be enough to stimulate the muscle growth you need to improve your body composition.
If you’re just starting out, training a full body workout three times a week is a great way to get quick results. One of the best methods is using lower and upper body supersets like the German Body Composition Training protocol which allows you to do more work in less time.
8. How to lose weight by drinking more water
If you want to support your weight loss efforts, you have to drink sufficient water. It serves so many key functions towards your efforts to shed the unwanted kilos. Water is critical to ensuring that your brain and your body function optimally. Being dehydrated will downregulate every cellular process in your body. Not getting enough water can also impact muscle protein synthesis and even 3 per cent dehydration can hit your strength and power output when training in the gym.
While there may be no scientific studies showing it’s the ultimate fat burner, water will help fill you up more – something that staves off hunger and stops you overeating. A good trick is to drink one or two glasses of water 10 minutes before you eat a meal – especially if you’re out at a restaurant – this will help with dietary adherence and stop you over-eating. We advise clients to try and drink a litre of water per 25kg of bodyweight every single day.
9. Optimise your sleep to lose weight
Science has long documented the relationship between sleep and weight loss. So when your concern is how to lose weight, sleep is vital in laying the foundation for optimum health, recovery and performance.
Getting enough decent sleep is also important to ensure a healthy hormone balance. Your body produces the most testosterone and growth hormone at night, which are key hormones for better body composition. Quality sleep also reduces the stress hormone called cortisol. When we’re sleep deprived, cortisol increases in order to keep your body running – but the result of this is lower ‘real’ energy, fatigue, food cravings and mental fog.
Sleep is a non-negotiable with all of our Ultimate Performance body transformation clients. We always recommend you try to get between 7-9 hours of good quality sleep per night.
10. The importance of planning long term
Sustainable weight loss is never achieved with a short-term fix. Crash diets and maniacal training regimes will never last in the long run and will always end badly. While you can really kick-start your weight loss in the first 10 days, keeping losing weight and maintaining your lean and healthy body is about building in lasting habits to your lifestyle.
These 10 tips are the things we help every UP body transformation clients to apply to their lives for the long term. Keeping yourself consistent with these rules and being accountable to yourself will ensure that you achieve your weight loss and body composition goals not just in 10 days, but for months and years to come too.
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Ben Kenyon is the Content Editor at Ultimate Performance